After a dominant win versus the Saint Joseph’s Hawks, Maryland women’s lacrosse dwindled in its second matchup when it faced off against the Syracuse Orange.
In a 20-11 thrashing, the Terps never seemed to gain their footing on either side of the field. The theme of the game was Syracuse’s physical play, which simply overpowered Maryland’s more graceful style.
The Terps, now ranked No. 6 in the nation, will try to erase that game from memory as they travel to Philadelphia, where they will take on Drexel University.
Drexel has fared about as well as expected in its first three games of the season, with convincing wins over Binghamton and Wagner and a 15-6 defeat at the hands of Penn State. Being one of the better skilled teams in its conference, this contest against Maryland may very well be its toughest of the season.
Tuesday’s game will begin at 2 p.m. and stream on Lacrosse TV.
Drexel Dragons (2-1, 0-0 CAA)
2022 record: 12-8, 4-2 CAA
Katie O’Donnell was named the interim head coach of Drexel in June 2022 after Kim Hillier resigned from her position. Previously an assistant coach, O’Donnell was on the staff of the 2021 Drexel squad that won the CAA title for the first time in program history. Before coming to Drexel, O’Donnell previously served as head coach of Lehigh University. Under her tutelage, the Mountain Hawks had just their second player in team history to be named to the Tewaaraton Award Watch List. In her playing career, O’Donnell was a two-time All-American midfielder and team captain at Penn State.
Players to know
Corinne Bednarik, senior midfielder, No. 2 — Last season, Bednarik was top 10 in the conference in both assists and points, with 26 and 63, respectively. In addition, she was named First Team All-CAA and entered this season third all-time in draw controls at Drexel. She also tied the program record for most points in a game last season with 10 against Hofstra.
Belle McHugh, senior defender, No. 16 — McHugh is the Dragons’ leader on defense. Last season, she led Drexel with 27 caused turnovers and was second on the squad with 41 ground balls. She was also named the CAA Defensive player of the Week on May 2, 2022.
Allison Drake, senior attacker, No. 20 — Drake started all 20 games in her junior year last season, posting 28 goals and 33 points. She had three hat tricks on the year, highlighting her scoring ability. She was also named to the CAA All-Tournament Team. Drake will take on an even bigger offensive load this year after the loss of a number of talented players.
Defense. Although it’s still early in the season, Drexel has proved to be one of the best defensive teams in its conference. In their first three games, the Dragons have a .528 save percentage, scooped up 49 ground balls, caused 23 turnovers and are 50-for-56 in clear attempts. They place top three in the CAA for each of those statistical measures.
Roster turnover. It’s quite astonishing when you look at the sheer number of points that won’t be coming back for the Dragons this season. Karson Harris, Lucy Schneidereith and Colleen Grady will not be donning a Drexel uniform this season. Why does this matter? Last season, in the CAA, Harris and Schneidereith were top 10 in goals per game, Grady was top five in assists per game and Harris and Grady were top 10 in total points per game. It’s going to be tough for the Dragons to make up for that kind of production.
Three things to watch
1. Maryland’s injury situation. Marge Donovan and Aiden Peduzzi’s game status remains unclear for the time being. Because both are starting-caliber defenders, it will be interesting to see how the Terps fill the voids they left. When Peduzzi went down early on against Syracuse, Maryland’s defense was unable to hold up very well, often getting beat off of the pick-and-weave offense that the Orange deployed so well.
On Tuesday, the leaders on defense, which include Abby Bosco, Kennedy Major and Clancy Rheude, will all need to step up in a big way. We could also see an influx of youth on that side of the ball if either Donovan or Peduzzi is unable to go.
2. Can the Terps capitalize? The Terps had multiple woman-up opportunities and free position shot attempts last week — very seldom were they able to take advantage of either one. In fact, Syracuse scored two shorthanded goals, both of which were caused by sloppy turnovers from the Terps. On Tuesday, it will be interesting to see how the Terps bounce back in this facet of the game. If teams want to play physical defense against the Terps and in doing so grant them these chances, it will be paramount for Maryland to make them pay for it.
3. Who will step up on offense? The Terps have a very skilled and graceful team offense. However, as seen versus Syracuse, that can backfire. On a few different occasions, the Terps either forced errant passes inside the arc or settled for mediocre shots. What Maryland desperately needs is a player or two to draw attention by getting physical and crafty around the goal. They all certainly have the ability to do so. Who will it be?